The Best 4 Stroke Weed Eater for Your Needs

Weed Trimmer

Why would anyone buy a 4 cycle weed wacker anyway?

The main reason most people gravitate towards buying a 4 stroke engine model for their hand held yard power equipment is convenience. The convenience of being able to use straight unleaded gasoline without mixing oil and maintaining a separate fuel can for their small equipment.

But there are other reasons too.

A 4 cycle engine is typically quieter, in relative terms, than a 2 cycle engine. They usually have more efficient and complete fuel combustion which makes for less emissions and less unpleasant exhaust odor.

Additionally, there is less opportunity to get the oil/gas ratio wrong in your fuel mixture and risk your engine seizing up as might be the case with a 2 cycle engine.

We’ve researched what’s out there in the way of 4 stroke weed trimmers, what’s good, what’s not, which are better for various tasks and so on. Here, we let you in on what we’ve discovered.

For a more extensive discussion on 4 stroke vs 2 stroke engines, see our comprehensive article here.

A Note on Straight Shaft vs. Curved Shaft

All of the trimmers listed here are straight shaft trimmers. However, the Troy-Bilt TB575EC is also sold with a curved shaft. Straight shaft trimmers have the advantage of transferring power more efficiently to the trimmer head. They also allow the user to get under bushes and low obstacles more effectively. They can often be more awkward for shorter people to use due to the high angle necessary for ground level trimming. Also, any attachment features require a straight shaft.

Our Top Pick: Husqvarna 324L 17-inch

We chose this trimmer as our top pick because it not only does its function extremely well, but it also consistently gets great user ratings, and the company has a solid history of quality products and good customer service. Plus it comes with a generous 2 year product warranty.

Husqvarna 324L

Features:

  • 25cc 4-stroke engine with 1.07HP output
  • Straight shaft
  • 17 inch cutting swath
  • Air purge for easy starting
  • Smart Start engine and starter for ease of starting
  • T35 Tap ‘n Go head for fast bump feed of trimmer line
  • Comfortable adjustable, padded loop handle minimizes vibration

What sets the Husqvarna 324L apart from the rest?

  • Commercial grade performance for heavy duty residential or light commercial trimming
  • Line is easy to reload
  • Works well on its side as an edger
  • Starts on first pull almost every time

What could be better?

  • No strap included. Not the heaviest at 13.1 lbs but a strap would help reduce strain.
  • Not attachment capable. If you want a Husqvarna trimmer that allows attachments, try the Husqvarna 128LD.

Is this the right string trimmer for you?

We think you’ll really like the Husqvarna 324L 4 stroke 17 inch string trimmer for its all around quality, user satisfaction and ease of use. Husqvarna is a solid brand that has been around for a very long time and maintained its high reputation throughout its history so you can’t go wrong there. This particular model is somewhat heavy so you’ll probably want to add a strap or harness.

It is mostly a basic trimmer but it does not have a split shaft to allow non-trimmer attachments like blowers, cultivators or edgers. If you want a more all-in-one piece of lawn equipment, you might want to check out the Poulan Pro PP428S or the Troy-Bilt TB575EC, both listed below.

Check the price of the Husqvarna 324L on Amazon.

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Easiest to Start: Honda HHT25SLTA 17-inch

Honda GX25 Engine

We chose this trimmer for it’s consistent ease of starting. But it has a lot of other features to commend it as a great choice in 4 stroke trimmers.

Features:

  • 25cc 4-stroke Honda GX25 engine
  • Straight shaft
  • 17 inch cutting swath
  • Semi-Matic bump feed head for quick feed of trimmer line
  • Quiet Line string line
  • Flex shaft for durability and shock absorption – flexible drive cable
  • 13.1 lbs
  • Safety glasses and harness included
  • Can accommodate several 9” cutting blades (Grass/weed, weed/brush, brush/wood)
  • Ergonomically designed for balance and maneuverability

What sets the Honda HHT25SLTA apart from the rest?

  • Gets great customer feedback as very easy to start, typically starts on the first pull.
  • Well-balanced design
  • Engine designed to function well in any position
  • Comes with harness and safety glasses

What could be better?

  • At 13.1 lbs, it is relatively heavy, but it does come with a harness
  • String can be difficult to load.
  • Not attachment capable, but it can accommodate several cutting blades.

Is this the right string trimmer for you?

The Honda HHT25SLTA is a great machine from another company with a super reputation for customer satisfaction in small engine equipment. This particular trimmer boasts a lot of great features that make it a great pick for the residential user. We think you’ll like the fact that it is one of the easiest trimmers to get started, usually on the first pull. It is well balanced for easy maneuverability and comes with a harness and safety glasses for added user comfort.

While it is capable of accepting brush cutter attachments on the trimmer head, it does not have a split shaft for adding non-trimmer attachments like cultivators, blowers and edgers. If you are interested in those features, we recommend you see the Poulan Pro or Troy-Bilt models listed below.

Check the price of the Honda HHT25SLTA on Amazon.

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Best for Commercial Work: Makita EM2652LHN 17-inch

This trimmer is our pick for a lightweight trimmer that’s durable and powerful enough to stand up to regular use as a commercial trimmer. It is purpose-built to only be a string trimmer.

Makita EM2652LHN

Features:

  • 25.4cc 1.0HP 4-stroke commercial duty engine
  • Straight shaft
  • 17 inch cutting swath
  • High capacity bump feed trimmer head
  • Quick Snap trimmer line spool replacement
  • Solid steel drive shaft for efficiency and lower vibration
  • 11.4 lbs
  • Anti-vibration handle for greater comfort
  • Large fuel tank capacity

What sets the Makita EM2652LHN apart from the rest?

  • Heavy duty commercial engine won’t bog down easily
  • Solid steel drive shaft for efficient transfer of power
  • Lubrication system in engine is designed to function well in any position
  • Most maintenance can be done without tools

What could be better?

  • No strap included, but lighter weight at 11.4 lbs
  • Trimmer head can be finicky to replace line
  • No attachments or cutting blades available.

Is this the right string trimmer for you?

We really like the Makita EM2652LHN for its solid reputation and high efficiency solid steel drive shaft. You’ll like the fact that the commercial duty engine will be strong enough to cut through a lot of weeds without getting bogged down. This machine will stand up to more regular use than its residential counterparts.

You’ll appreciate this trimmer if you want a dedicated trimmer and don’t need a lot of other attachments or even brush cutter blades to put on your string trimmer head. Below, you’ll find more options for attachment capable trimmers such as the Poulan Pro or Troy-Bilt models listed here.

Check the price of the Makita EM2652LHN on Amazon.

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Best for Attachments: Poulan Pro PP428S 16-inch

We like this trimmer for its ability to add lots of useful attachment accessories, making this a versatile all-in-one piece of power equipment for your lawn and garden needs.

Features:

  • 28 cc 4 stroke engine
  • 16 inch cutting swath
  • Tap n’ Go Dual line trimmer head for easy line feed
  • Straight shaft
  • Spring assisted start system
  • Split shaft with ProLink attachment system

What sets the Poulan Pro PP428S apart from the rest?

  • A selection of great attachments available such as brush cutter, cultivator, pole pruner, edger and blower
  • Easy feed trim line
  • 2 year warranty for residential use

What could be better?

  • Heavy at 13 lbs and no carry strap included
  • Slightly smaller cutting swath

Is this the right string trimmer for you?

We were really taken with the versatility of the Poulan pro PP428S 4 stroke string trimmer. The ability to add a number of high quality attachments makes this string trimmer great for the homeowner who wants to have a versatile all-in-one yard work machine. Maybe you’d like to have a pole saw to trim the surrounding branches and then a blower to clean up after lots of trimming and leaf raking, then you will enjoy this trimmer with accessory attachment capability. It is reasonably priced in the market and gets positive ratings for easy feeding of the trim line and it has a large engine.

It doesn’t have the largest cutting swath. It’s probably not a huge difference for the residential user but if you want more cut for each swing of the trimmer, you might try a different trimmer listed here. For the largest cutting swath, check out the MTD Southwest TB685EC Trimmer listed below.

Check the price of the Poulan Pro PP428S on Amazon.

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Lowest Priced: Troy-Bilt TB575EC 17-inch

This trimmer is one of the lowest priced trimmers in its class, allowing lots of attachments for the straight shaft version.

Troy Bilt TB575EC

Features:

  • 29 cc 4 stroke engine
  • 17 inch cutting swath
  • Click N’ Trim bump head for easy string advance
  • Straight shaft with curved shaft also available
  • Jump Start capable with starter accessory
  • Split shaft for attachment capability
  • Ten Trimmer Plus brand attachments available

What sets the Troy-Bilt TB575EC apart from the rest?

  • One of the lowest price in this class of trimmers
  • Powerful 29 cc 4 stroke engine
  • Particularly easy to start when using Jump Start starting accessory
  • Lots of attachments available
  • Made in America

What could be better?

  • Can be difficult to start without the Jump Start starting accessory
  • Line can be difficult to reload
  • Gets relatively poor user ratings compared to the competition, mostly for line-feeding difficulty.

Is this the right string trimmer for you?

The Troy-Bilt TB575EC is the most affordable model in the 4 stroke trimmer class at an MSRP of under $200. If you choose to purchase the starting accessory, you will like the Jump Start feature that allows you to turn over the engine using a hand drill or the dedicated Jump Start motorized starter. This is an awesome feature for those who get frustrated with pull-cord starting of small engines or lack the muscle power to be able to start them, such as smaller women or young people.

You will appreciate the ability to add attachments like a blower or cultivator. If you are looking for a trimmer with a stronger engine that will not bog down with heavy commercial duty use, you might check out the Makita EM2652LHN list above.

Check the price of the Troy-Bilt TB575EC on Amazon.

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Honorable Mention: MTD Southwest TB685EC Natural Organic 18-inch

We should mention one final trimmer that deserves a listing here. The MTD Southwest TB685EC Natural Organic is a Troy-Bilt product that meets California Emissions Standards. With the largest engine and largest cutting swath of all those listed here, it has a lot of positive features to commend it.

Features:

  • 30 cc 4 stroke engine
  • 18 inch cutting swath
  • Click n’ Trim bump head for easy string advance
  • Straight shaft
  • Multi-position handle for reduced vibration and minimizing user fatigue
  • Adjustable handle for right- or left-handed users
  • Meets emission standards for the State of California
  • Quick Change head for quick conversion to Aero-Flex cutting blade
  • Trimmer Plus attachment capable

What sets the MTD Southwest TB685EC apart from the rest?

  • Large 30 cc 4 stroke engine
  • Lowest emissions
  • Fully adjustable handle good for right- or left-handed users
  • Attachment capable

What could be better?

  • Super heavy at 18 lbs
  • Potential problems with starter cord

Is this the right string trimmer for you?

If you live in California, or you are just interested in having the lowest emissions for your 4 stroke trimmer, then you will be interested in the MTD Southwest TB685EC Natural Organic trimmer. It has the biggest engine and the widest cutting swath of all the trimmers listed here. You will also like the adjustability of the handle that makes it especially attractive for left-handed users.

Check the price of the MTD Southwest TB6355EC on Amazon.

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